Dakini and Daka

”Dakinis are enlightened or highly insightful females who often act as messengers, reminders and revealers to the student of Vajrayana, They can be human or non-human ”  

(Source ~ Buddhism After Patriarchy by Rita M Gross)

It is held that the secret MahaSiddha teachings are kept by the Dakinis in their sky-palaces and that certain adepts, like Tilopa, got their revelation by ”Storming the Palace of the Dakinis”.

But were the Dakinis conceived by lonesome male practitioners to prettify their inner mandalas and keep the cave warm at night as virtual consorts?

Are they merely adjuncts to male-centric processes?

And were there not males who also mastered the Void in the manner of these impulsive, playful, unpredictable forces?

The Dakas or male counterparts tend to be much less prominent in the Vajrayana canon. Some, like Tsultrim Allione, have suggested that the role of the male Dakas might have been more prominent if the writers of the ancient works had been female. As an energetic counter-balance, I think she might mean, because the Dakinis functioned in that way for the male practitioners.

”In order to make the Tibetan tantric path more available to women, the development of upaya (dynamic nature) and the finding and working with the male principle would become as important as dakinis.”

(Source ~ Women of Wisdom. by T. Allione.)

Dakini means ”sky dancer”,  ”space goer”, ”celestial being”, ”sky-goer”, ”space dancer”, ”peerless”, ”pristine”, and I presume a fleshed out symbology of Dakas would imply the same for the male gender. The spaciousness of ether. At home moving through the vastness of Space beyond thought. Void-walkers, perhaps?

A Dakini has ”  “a very sharp, brilliant wisdom mind that is uncompromising, honest, with a little bit of wrath.” ( Khandro Rinpoche )

They represent archetypal, formless, intuitive wisdom.

Not all Dakinis or Dakas are enlightened, however; some are the equivalent of elemental energies, mischievous sprites and so on. These are the Worldly Dakinis/Dakas. Some are humans who have reached a high level of development but are not yet liberated.


While the term Daka is rarely used, Pawo is more commonly employed. It means ”brave man”, or ”hero”, or ”spiritual warrior”, and like Dakini can refer to a living or supernatural being.  As is typical in Buddhism the warrior’s path is not about individual salvation, but, like the Wisdom Dakini, the tantric Pawo is committed to the Bodhisattwa ideal of liberating all beings.

”The warrior, fundamentally, is someone who is not afraid of space. ”

(Chogyam Trungpa)


 The Pawo or shaman….. is characterized by ecstasy, the entering into an altered state of consciousness, in order to have direct personal contact with the spirit world. But in Tibet, the methods of (the) three types of practitioners of healing– the Pawo or shaman, the Ngakpa or magician, and Lama or priest– are not necessarily exclusive. 

Pawo is characterized by spirit possession. After entering into an altered state of consciousness or trance induced through drumming and chanting, his or her consciousness principle known as the Namshe (rnam-shes) is projected out of the physical body through the aperture at the top of the skull….

At the moment when one’s Namshe leaves the physical body, one’s guardian spirit or spirit-guide, also called a Pawo, enters one’s now vacated inert body and thereupon speaks through the shaman as a medium.

John Myrdhin Reynolds ~ http://vajranatha.com/articles/traditions/bonpo.html?showall=1

(Note : These sorts of spirit projection practices are rooted in the shamanic Bon tradition.)

The absolute wisdom dakini is the empty quality of luminous wakefulness. On the relative level, the five aggregates of perception (skandhas) are the male aspect, while the elements of earth, water, fire, air and space are the female qualities. On the absolute level, the males are the subjective end of skillful means and compassionate activity, while the females are the wisdom realizing emptiness, the timeless, serene expanse of objective suchness. ~ http://www.turtlehill.org/glos/d.html

Dakini & Daka

(That will do for now…..)


Generally just Being. Nothing in particular, no claims to fame. I like gardening and the sea, nature, art in all forms from poetry to films and everything in between, and being in the company of my family.

Posted in Buddhism, Uncategorized

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